The Water Goddess and the Computer (1988)

  • Lifetime Achivement Award
  • 58min

For centuries, rice farmers on the island of Bali have taken great care not to offend the water goddess Dewi Danu. Towards the end of each rainy season, the farmers send representatives to Ulun Danu Batur, the temple at the top of the mountain, to offer ducks, pigs, coins and coconuts in thanks for the water that sustains their terraced fields. With the help of an ingenious computer programme, anthropologist Steve Lansing and ecologist James Kremer have shown that the Balinese rice growers have been practising state-of-the-art resource management. Besides placating the goddess, it turns out, the island’s ancient rituals serve to coordinate the irrigation and planting schedules of hundreds of scattered villages. And as a new computer model makes clear, the result is one of the most stable and efficient farming systems on the planet.

A pre-recorded conversation between Andrè Singer and Angela Piccini is available here.

A live Q&A with Andrè Singer will take place on Zoom 19-28 March. Please check the full schedule of live events and links to join here.


Andre Singer